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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

CANBERRA -(Dow Jones)- The Australian Government on Wednesday unveiled details of a A$196 million fund to commercialize ideas and create jobs.

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Kim Carr described the fund as a "radical new program" that will tailor assistance to applicants' needs rather than fitting an applicant into a program.

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Apps for InnovationOver the past few years, it’s become pretty clear that the United States has been slipping from a global innovation leader to a follower, behind innovation super powers like China, India, Singapore, Finland and now, according to the latest World Economic Forum report, Switzerland.

Innovation, technology and business experts are all calling for a more valuable education system, better intellectual property laws and tax credits for companies that invest in innovation.

In June, I wrote about “The Innovation Movement,” a campaign launched that month by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to ensure that the U.S. Congress passes innovation-friendly legislation.

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The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is in the process of preparing a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Document. A draft copy of the document has been submitted by Consultants and the first review meeting was held recently.

It is the Ministry’s desire to share the document with the general public with the view of eliciting comments and other inputs. We would, therefore, be most delighted if you could spend some time to read this draft and provide your input by November 15, 2009.

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When it comes to talking with their kids, parents say the topics of math and science are harder to discuss than drug abuse, according to a survey of 561 adults who have children ages 5 to 18. The survey was conducted online between Sept. 23 and 28, 2009 by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates on behalf of Intel Corporation, and is reported to have a margin of error of +/- 4.14 percent. The survey found that although more than 50 percent of parents rank math or science as the subjects most critical to their children’s future success, they report discomfort talking to their children about these subjects. In fact, nearly a quarter of parents who admit to being less involved in their child’s math and science education than they would like say that a key barrier is their own lack of understanding of these subjects. On top of this, last week, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed that fewer than 40% of fourth-graders and eighth-graders in the United States are proficient in math.

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Saying New York is poised to lead the way in the high-tech economy of the future, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) Tuesday launched Innovation Agenda, a five-part economic plan she says will help generate future jobs for a highly skilled workforce.

Innovation Agenda -- which includes an investment in science, technology, engineering and math education and legislation to promote the growth of business incubators and research institutions -- is designed to prepare teachers and students toward developing into "the innovative leaders that New York needs to compete and win the global economy," Gillibrand said from her Washington, D.C., office.

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Wonderful World Of Web 2.0 - The Web 2.0 Summit is in full swing and already generated a bit of news in its first day - if you consider anything a Twitter executive says as news. While CEO Evan Williams disappointed bloggers once again by stopping short of disclosing any revenue models, he did say he “deperately” wants to rid of Twitter’s “suggested user” list, which offers suggestions on which users to follow. The list was launched last year and includes a wealth of celebrities, social media stars and brand-name companies who have benefited greatly by attracting thousands of users. Instead, Williams said, he’s looking to replace that list with a feature that will let people build their own lists of users to follow. Also at Web 2.0, Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker claimed the economy is improving and projected a coming mobile boom (see her presentation here), General Electric chief Jeff Immelt unveiled a handheld ultrasound machine, PayPal revealed it’s embracing outside developers, and Mark Pincus of social-gaming company Zynga predicted we’ll see an economy built around social-media apps.

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For the San Diego Zoo, the long-standing model of funding conservation research and educational initiatives from entertainment revenues (tickets, food, and merchandise) and donations couldn't be maintained- -- attendance simply wouldn't rise as fast as the costs of maintaining a 2,000-person enterprise. The zoo had to innovate -- and it has.

Case Study: Using Innovation for Growth

The Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, has been honoured with a top prize for innovation at the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2009. The Institute was named overall winner in the category of "Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology". The awards were announced at a gala ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Thursday 15th October.

Now in their fifth year, the Times Higher Education Awards are the leading awards for the higher education sector, created to recognise, celebrate and reward the highest standards of excellence and talent in UK academia. This year the awards attracted over 600 entries from more than 130 higher education institutions.

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Venture capital funding fell 42% through the third quarter compared with last year, as investors remained cautious of making new deals and limited partners scaled back commitments to the asset class.

But some established venture firms still have plenty of firepower to make investments, as evidenced by the following list from Dow Jones VentureSource of this year’s most active investors.

 

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Affordable public housing. Quality schools. Safe neighborhoods. Clean streets. Inexpensive mass transit. There’s no shortage of challenges facing American cities. But there is an innovative new way to go about solving them: open innovation. Last week we announced our “Empowering American Cities” initiative, in which we invite city governments to post a Challenge on our Innovation Marketplace, where it can be addressed by our global community of more than 180,000 scientists, inventors, engineers, researchers, and business people who thrive on solving the world’s toughest problems.

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Commercialization partners and investment are now needed for new technologies, which have been government supported by Enterprise Ireland.

An eternal lantern powered by the sun, an energy efficient radiator, and membrane technology that uses carbon nanotubes are a few cleantech innovations being spun out of the world’s 43rd top university.

Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin showcased 15 of its newest technologies last week, with a handful falling under the cleantech sector, that are now ready for commercialization, Graham McMullin told the Cleantech Group today. McMullin is a case manager for physical sciences within Trinity’s technology transfer office.

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One of the most misunderstood topics about entrepreneurship is job creation. The prevailing wisdom is that new businesses create jobs primarily because newly formed companies tend to grow over time.

This misperception comes from how people typically look at the data on new businesses. In general, observers look at the number of people employed at the average new firm and compare that to the number of people employed at the average firm that is, say, six years old.

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